The Future is Now: Technology is Allowing Millions of Americans to Work from Home
Article written by Contributor
Thanks to new technology, the nature of work is changing fast. The average individual workstation, for example, in 1992 was around 80 square feet. Now, the average workstation is only 39 square feet, and at many companies people have stopped showing up to the office altogether.
Although many companies remain skeptical about telecommuting, it has become an innovative new form of work. And it’s revolutionizing the way business is done across the country.
“More and more companies — whether they’re private, public, nonprofit, or startup — have recognized the bottom-line benefits of telecommuting and are increasingly incorporating this type of flexible work arrangement into their business strategies,” said Sara Sutton Fell, CEO and founder of FlexJobs.
CNBC reports that an average work from home employee actually earns a higher salary than in-office workers, in addition to each person saving upwards of $4,000 a year on commuting costs.
The reason so many organizations are able to seamlessly switch to a working from home policy is simple: the internet makes it possible. Since the world is essentially reliant on tech, it’s much easier for workers in all kinds of industries to get their work done from home (or from anywhere in the world). IBM reports that more than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are generated every day, and wholly 90% of all electronic data in history has actually been created in just the last two years.
The world’s obsession with technology and the new work from home trend is actually having an effect on the real estate market, too. As Realtor.com reports, 61% of homebuyers in 2017 will be under the age of 35, and more and more homebuyers are looking for properties that have home offices already set up.
“We are starting to see starter homes come back,” said Rick Palacios Jr., director of research at John Burns Real Estate Consulting. “[Homebuyers are] now in that life stage of their early 30s where they’ve got a good job now.”
According to Bankrate, there are currently 13 million Americans working form home, and as more and more businesses adopt similar company strategies, that number will likely significantly increase.
“Home offices have vast appeal,” added Paige Elliott, a Dallas Real Estate agent. “Most agents will point out that a room could be used as an office or other flex living space, especially if it is currently used or staged as a bedroom.”
Young workers who have very tech-heavy jobs can enjoy the comfort of working in their own homes as they answer Skype calls, give digital presentations, handle all their finances, and simply organize their work (and personal) days.
“The next generation of homeowners wants smart, stylish homes that enable them to connect with friends and family,” said Jill Waage, editorial director for home content at Better Homes and Gardens.
Researchers have also found that working from home can provide health benefits. Employees in clean workspaces across the country have an 80% reduced chance of catching the common cold and influenza compared to workers in unclean environments. Cutting out the germy coworkers altogether can limit exposure to illnesses.
Forbes adds that working remotely can also drastically improve stress levels and overall happiness levels, too. Approximately 82% of workers who get their work done remotely have lower stress levels, 80% report higher morale, and 69% report lower absenteeism, further improving productivity.
But what about the companies who allow telecommuting? Of all the organizations that have adopted work from home policies, roughly two-thirds of managers reported a significant increase in overall productivity due to telecommuting.
“Having a dedicated space is important because it will help keep them focused and concentrated on work,” said Lou Cardillo of the Home Selling Team in New York. “As technology continues to make us more mobile, young buyers have more options than ever to work from home.”